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The Most Underrated Tool in your Online Toolbox

by Jessie Waddell 6 months ago in satire

An Ode to the GIF.

Image Source: https://www.lbbonline.com/news/facebook-just-got-gif-ier-by-buying-giphy

Admittedly, the title of this article may be a bold statement. Given that my online writing experience is at fledgling status, and there's probably a tonne of undiscovered hacks out there. Nonetheless, this is my hill, and I will die on it.

I love GIFs. I believe they are the greatest communicative invention on the internet. Far superior to emoji's or memes. As a person who actively uses quotes from her favourite movies and tv-shows in everyday conversation, the discovery of the GIF was a dream come true.

There is a GIF for any occasion, and if by some obscure chance you can't find one, then pick your favourite movie, tv-show or quote, and make one.

GIF Use in Online Articles/Blogs/Listicles

There are some that may argue an article littered with animated quotes detracts from the point, and to that, I say...

Skilful GIF use can enhance an article. The right GIF placed in the right location can help you bring home an argument, give readers checkpoints if they want to come back to a certain place or (my personal favourite) give a harsh point a softer, more comical tone.

In fact, if I had my way, I may just opt out of using the written word entirely and communicate exclusively in GIF form. I'm not sure that would still make me a writer, though, and I'm not sure GIFers are a thing? So I guess the written word will live to fight another day.

They're also super easy to embed without having to worry about annoying things like file size. The downside is, as with anything embedded, you run the risk of broken links. So obviously, you're going to have to review your articles regularly to make sure everything is still working as it should.

I also believe it's no coincidence that of the 50+ stories I've now published on Vocal, the three that have managed to make Top Story were throughly GIF-laden.

Can you overdo it with the GIFs? Absolutely. But what kind of thrill-seeker doesn't want to walk the fine line between not enough and too many? You will never lose points from me for maximum GIF effort, even if you don't achieve maximum GIF execution. The amount of times I've now said "GIF" is making me equal parts excited and nauseous.

GIF use on Social Media

GIFs can save you from looking like a bit of a weirdo if, like me, you often use quotes in response to things you see online. If you dropped a quote in the comments section with no context, people are likely to wonder which cave this strange little troll crawled out from, but drop a GIF? Immediate context. They are also super handy if you want to adequately convey your enthusiasm but lack time to craft a witty, well-thought-out comment.

Another thing GIFs are remarkably good for are responding to those comments or pieces of feedback that make you a little... uncomfortable. Read someone's article, and it didn't really resonate but feel rude not acknowledging it in your comments section with the same effort you gave the others? GIF. Received a bit of feedback on one of your articles you're not quite sure how to take but don't want to come off as a bit of a jerk by not responding? GIF. Overly enthusiastic reader slides into your DM's, and you want to show your appreciation without encouraging further intimate online interaction? GIF.

Played well, the GIF card can successfully get you out of many potentially awkward social media encounters.

Other miscellaneous online scenarios where GIF use is appropriate:

Expressing your confusion on a response thread to an offensive, ignorant or otherwise strange post where you don't want to actively participate in the argument but want to reiterate what the other commenters have expressed.

When you're just there to read the comments and soak up the drama and want to receive notifications about the thread but can't help but stir the pot just a little...

When you need to wholeheartedly agree with a complete stranger and feel weird actually writing anything to them as though you know each other.

Any time you feel overwhelmed by the compulsion to reference The Office, Friends, Brooklyn 99 (Or any other sitcom of choice)...

I believe I may have now officially crossed the line for overuse of both the word GIF and the GIFs themselves. Nevertheless, the next time you feel your article/listicle/blog etc. might be lacking a little sparkle, consider jazzing things up with a GIF.

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Thanks for reading. For more ramblings adorned with animated quotes from your favourite shows, check out these articles:

satire

Jessie Waddell

I have too many thoughts. I write to clear some headspace.

Instagram: @thelittlepoet_jw

"To die, would be an awfully big adventure"—Peter Pan

Vale Tom Brad

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